My lovely little sister is on A Mission. She wants to know exactly what time on November 14th 1950 she was born.
I am not a lot of help. Although my very first clear memory
is of being taken by my Dad in to the back bedroom to see my new-born sister, I am extremely hazy on exactly when this was. In my defence, I was only three and a half years old at the time.
Given my abject
failure on the Remembering Front, my sister is hopeful that our elder brother, who was fourteen at the time of The Birth, will be much more informative. And what better opportunity than at our annual Brothers and Sisters Lunch yesterday? Regular readers may
recall that we aim to gather once a year around the time of our mother's birthday on December 2nd. This year she would have been 103 years old so I cooked her famous meat pie in her honour. Of which more later. No, not more pie, there wasn't a single scrap
left. I'm talking background information here.
I am not sure if my little sister has ever been unduly worried in the past to know whether she was born in the morning, afternoon or evening. Now, however, she
is co-organiser, with her fella, of a group called "Growing Up, Growing Old, A Story to be Told." A great title, don't you think, one I would have been proud to have thought of myself. Members of the group gather in their house once a month and recount tales
of their lives, from birth onwards, as preparation for producing a written life story. Maggie is Leading From The Front, which is exactly what I would expect from her. Hence her quest for a little more detail about the timing and circumstances of her own birth.
Our brother says he remembers being woken up with the news by our father. Maggie thinks this sounds promising. Then he ponders for a while before admitting that he can't actually remember which baby he was being introduced
to - my sister or me. I rather think that what matters is remembering the excitement, the happiness, the sheer wonder of a new life. Even if we can't recall exactly what o'clock it was.
Possibly aware that
his indecisiveness might disappoint, our brother changes the subject and tells us that he has located the house where we were born on Google Earth. Despite the fact that this will obviously not solve the Timing of the Birth issue, we are sufficiently diverted
to make a search. I am in charge of the Us Pad, so I do a bit of googling, even though past experience has told me that zooming in from the World to Rush Green in six seconds is going to make me feel like a giddy goat. We traverse the streets around our former
home in a virtual convoy and marvel that nothing looks anything like we remember it apart from St Augustine's Church where our brother and his wife were married and we were bridesmaids, dressed in lilac.
sure you want to know about the meal I prepared. Though I say it myself as shouldn't, I did extremely well on the menu front. Forward Planning was the name of the game. My sister said she needed to watch me preparing the pastry for the meat pie which was not
a problem except that I feared I might be a trifle disappointing on the Pastry Front. I had to explain that the only pie dish I possessed which was large enough for all of us had a few structural deficiencies compared with the dishes used by our mother so
successfully all those years ago. Undeterred, my sister and and her fella peeled potatoes, prepared brussels sprouts (arguing in a satisfactorily inconclusive way on whether one should cut crosses in the sprouts or not), and behaved in every way like the very
best of sous chefs, leaving me to concentrate on The Pie.
Everyone said the pie was delicious. After dinner we ambled inconclusively through discussions on our childhood, then watched the results show
of Strictly Come Dancing. My brother and his wife, far more knowledgeable than I on the finer points of ballroom dancing, were more enlightening on fancy footwork than all the TV judges combined.
I am pleased
the pie was well received, being as it was, a homage to our mum. But to be very honest I am sure that in the long run what we will remember about today will be the chat, the company, the love and the laughter.
will remember the pie.